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Where Are They Now?

From the Great Depression to the Gig Economy

Gig #4, (2021)

Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel, 16″x20″

David Chatfield, Where Are They Now: Gig #4

Where Are They Now: Gig #4, (2021)

Oil and Toner Transfer on Panel, 16″x20″

Gig #4 began as I expanded my research beyond the Migrant Mother into other imagery from the Great Depression, and a great deal of the images were of Breadlines. 

So where are today’s Breadlines? I initially thought the equivalent would be SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps), a government-funded food program. But those aren’t tied to a specific location where I could place the individuals from the images. So where do those in need generally eat?

Fast Food restaurants are the answer. Most poor neighborhoods are food deserts. Grocery Stores won’t move to poor neighborhoods due to systematic racism and little to no investment in infrastructure and other needed resources.

Now you might be asking at this point, aren’t people in Breadlines unemployed? So how is this a ‘gig’? If you’ve been unemployed you know it is a full-time job, requiring a ton of training, researching, searching, and writing (and re-writing) cover letters. And if you’ve received unemployment benefits the requirements only increase, usually including applying to, and documenting, 5 or more jobs a week. When I received COVID-related benefits I had several mandatory meetings with job-search agents, one of which lasted 5 hours.

So our Breadline attendee is enjoying an affordable meal before heading out to drop off a few more resumes.